The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is one of the most widely recognised accreditations in the world when it comes to management programmes. It is conducted by Virginia, US-based Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), and is usually conducted offline in test centres all over the globe. 

With the coronavirus pandemic and the stringent restrictions accompanying it, a choice between online and centre-based exams was proposed to GMAT candidates. The GMAT Online exam can be taken from the comfort of one’s home. The exam is proctored and is supported by both Windows as well as Mac. Appointments and test date cycles remain the same as centre-based GMAT exams. Over 150,000 tests, spread over 150 countries, have been taken in the online format till now. 

The Graduate Management Admission Council recently notified the general public of 4 enhancements in the GMAT/MBA Online exam. These enhancements will be effective for appointment dates beginning the 8th of April 2021, and if you’re planning to take the exam this date, then you’ll have to take cognizance of these enhancements for effective GMAT prep

GMAT Exam Online 2021 Enhancements: Effective the 8th of April 2021

1. Additional Breaks: The GMAT Online exam has followed a one plus one optional 5-minute break pattern, with the total duration of the exam being 2 hours 40 minutes. The optional break could be taken before diving into the Integrated Reasoning section. However, in the new format, the candidate will be allowed two optional 8 minutes breaks, and the total will be bumped up to approximate 3 hours and 7 minutes. 

2. Addition of Analytical Writing Assessment: The GMAT examination has a pattern that includes 4 areas, each testing a different skill or ability. These areas are:

  • Integrated Reasoning: Comprises of questions intended to test higher-order thinking skills in terms of data analysis and inference from raw data provided in various forms like tables, charts and others. This area requires both verbal reasoning and quantitative acumen to complete successfully. 
  • Quantitative Reasoning: As the name suggests, this section is planned to put to the test your mathematical and computational capabilities. Geometry, arithmetic and elementary algebra are the topics this section places emphasis on. 
  • Verbal Reasoning: The Verbal Reasoning section aims to test your logical faculties and reasoning accuracy. The section consists of long passages for reading comprehension and short but tricky questions like sentence correction and critical reasoning. 
  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA): The Analytical Writing Assessment is a 30-minute writing task that tends to assess your communication and argument skills. 

Till now, GMAT Online consisted of the first three components only. However, post the 8th of April, the AWA segment would also be added.

3. Select the Pattern on Your Own: Now that all the sections of the centre-based test are included in the online format as well, the GMAC has given a choice to the candidates to choose the order in which they’d like to attempt these sections. The orders from one can choose are:

a. Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative and Verbal

b. Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning and Analytical Writing Assessment

c. Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning and Analytical Writing Assessment

It is imperative that you choose the order in which you feel you’re most comfortable, given the level of your GMAT prep. 

4. Receive Your GMAT Online Unofficial Score On The Spot: Usually, it takes 7 business days to get your official GMAT score. The same was applicable to the online version too. But now, the candidate takes a look at the unofficial score right after the paper has been submitted. The official score, after corroboration and due changes applicable, will be available after a span of a week only. 

In Conclusion

The GMAT Online paper is just around the corner, and the GMAC has made some enhancements to it. It is imperative to be in the know of these changes to plan your GMAT prep better. The addition of the AWA section is a gamechanger, and candidates would now have to account for that too. Other than that, an added advantage of the GMAT test online mode is its lower fee and the fact that one can send this score to unlimited programs around the world. 


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